Chapter 46: The Dark Knight’s Tale

Author’s Note: Ok guys, I have spent the last two days on this.  I was having a heck of a time.  It is finished and as good as it is going to get.  I hope you guys like it.

To see the full skit, please head to 02.21- The Pharaoh and the Pirate chapter of the Chronicles of Clarke legacy!  Go check it out anyway 😛

From the journal of Roark Wyvern

 

Luna’s deep breathing told me she had finally allowed herself to sleep.  It had gutted me when I’d finally managed to corner her last night and I’d been able to tell just how bad off she was.  The physical effects of using abilities like we had were myriad and often painful.  I didn’t know what she had done, not until she told me, but I knew that she had to be in such pain.  There was no color in her face and her eyes, those beautiful red eyes, were glazed over in agony.

As I looked at her now, she was still too pale for my liking, but I knew I’d have a fight on my hands if I tried to take her to the hospital and the crux of it was, there was little they could do for her anyway.  She needed rest, that’s what would help her.  My wife had the frustrating habit of not thinking of herself.  She was larger than life and had confidence in spades.  That was what drew me to her from day one.  That welcoming and downright intriguing light in her eyes had drawn me to her like a moth to a flame.  And while she was aware of her own beauty, her own self-worth, she was infuriatingly ignorant of the impact that she had on others.  My wife was one that affected whoever she came in contact with… for good or ill.  She often took center stage, often without realizing it.

And she cared.  Her heart was so big.  Her tendency to shepherd everyone around her was another reason I couldn’t help falling for her and falling hard.  But it was gut-wrenching for me to see her like this.  So busy trying to protect her brother and her new little sister, never once thinking of herself or what protecting them could do to her.  That’s who my wife is.  I loved her for it and still, holding her close like this, one of her hands clutched in mine, it broke my heart the way that little whimpers escaped her throat.

I leaned forward to kiss her forehead.  She snuggled closer, letting out a soft sigh.  There was something about seeing a strong woman- and that’s certainly what my wife is- let their guard down.  It didn’t happen often, not even with me.  One of the most infuriating things about her was her propensity to try to handle everything on her own.  Her pride hated it when she appeared weak, though that was never a word that came to mind when I thought of her, nor would you see anyone associate that word with my wife.

After I listened to her breathing for a few hours, I finally let myself fall asleep, listening to the sound of my wife’s heartbeat and feeling her warmth next to me.


The next morning, I slipped out of bed, gently covering Luna with the blanket.  She was still cool to the touch.  She was still in shock, really, from the mental toll she’d taken the night before.  I kissed her forehead and left the bedroom.  I thought about working out, but then I heard the TV on.  I walked into the living room and found my brother-in-law on the couch, playing video games.  I grinned.

“Hey, always heard you were supposed to be really good at this.  Feel up to a challenge?” I asked him, hopping on the couch without waiting for an invitation as I grabbed the second controller.

“Pft, a challenge huh?  Someone thinks highly of himself,” Alduin snickered.  “But I’ll humor you, oh lowly peasant!”

As Alduin switched menus to begin two player mode, I had to grin a little as a memory from a long time ago surfaced.


My little brother, sister, and I had just been taken in the middle of the night from the little apartment in Bridgeport and had been deposited in a house on the far outskirts of the city.  We’d been told very little.  Alaric and Cyn were only about 4.  I was very close to turning 15 soon.  None of us really knew what was happening, other than we were being sent away “for our own protection”, though even then I suspected that wasn’t entirely true.  Still, for us, this was a new adventure and there was a big screen TV there and a couch big enough for all of us to crowd onto it and get to play our favorite games.

Games were something that we’d always enjoyed together.  And even as we all grew, it was something that remained as a favorite pastime.  It was before everything had gone so horribly wrong, when we’d had hope, when we’d been a family.


“Hey, you gonna hit start or what?” Alduin complained, laughing and nudging me with his shoulder.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m gettin’ there.  Patience is a virtue, Your Highness,” I reminded him with a sneer, shaking my head to clear the memory.  “Oh and prepare to be dethroned.  There’s about to be a bloody coup in the Wyvern house tonight!”

“Pft, you wish!  Your little coup will be nothing but an embarrassing defeat!  Prepare to meet your better on the field of battle!”

It was indeed a bloody battle, and an epic one if I do say so myself.  My brother in law is a worthy opponent.  I might have had him had I been paying better attention.  As it was, it was a close battle.  At the end screen, I shook my head.  “So you keep your title another day,” I told him, grinning.  I leaned back, thinking.

“Another round?” Alduin asked, smirking.

I made a noncommittal noise.  “Hey, I think we need to try cheering up the girls.”

I could see something pass over his face as he looked away.  I understood all too well.  And the worst of it was, he still didn’t know everything.  I thought about warning him, telling him what Luna told me.  Any other time I would have.  But one of the things that Luna had told me that she’d ripped from the sorceress’s mind had been that Alduin had lost a part of himself on the trip back from the Netherworld.  I knew so little about it, I didn’t dare.  I’d let Luna handle that conversation.  Part of me hoped they didn’t go down that road.  My wife wasn’t up to her usual fierceness.  What I was getting off her brother, this time, he’d be the one doing the interrogating.  As much as I wanted to tell him to lay off, I couldn’t.  He had a right to know.

“What do you suggest?”

I shrugged.  “Well, they’d definitely enjoy a day at your family’s spa.  We can use that time to… do something, right?”

Alduin nodded.  “Yeah, they’d love a spa day.”  He pursed his lips.  “What do you have in mind?”

“You know your sister and girlfriend,” I told him.  I hoped he’d come up with something.  I wasn’t the most creative.  Truth is, Luna was easy.  Despite appearances, she wasn’t very high maintenance.  In Bridgeport, we went dancing, had a few drinks, but for the most part, she and I had just loved sitting at home, watching TV or a movie or even playing games.  Once we’d come to Monte Vista, it had all been about the baby and healing, for both of us.  So sitting together outside, or in our room.  That’s what we’d done.

“Cali loves acting, loves theater,” Alduin mused.  “Hey, what about a skit?”

“A skit?”  I reached up to stroke my goatee.  “Hm…”

My brother in law was really getting into it.  “Yeah, a skit!  Think about it, costumes, performing.”  His eyes widened and his smirk turned into a wicked grin. “Oh Watcher… Cali in a SimTrek costume…”

It made me laugh.  There was no shame on his face at all.  “Yeah…” I told him with a snort and a friendly punch to the arm.  “Somehow, think maybe you should save that for uh… when you two are alone.”  But his idea had gotten me thinking.  “Hm, a skit… a skit about true love maybe?” I suggested with a shrug.

He had the grace to blush, though he was still smirking.  “Hm, you’re probably right…”   He ran a hand through his hair, looking thoughtfully to the side. “A skit about true love…”  I could almost hear the wheels turning in his head.   “Think we can get everyone to participate? Would Cyn be up for something like this?”

“My sister would love that!”  I grinned, thinking back once again.


I’d come home from a long day of ROTC training.  I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.  But I’d come through the archway and just stopped.

“Wait, I thought you were going to be the princess,” my younger brother said exasperatedly.

Cyn grinned at him.  “I don’t do so well as the princess.  I’ll play the Dragon for you to slay!”

“But you’re my sister!”

“We’re playin’ pretend though!”


“She and my brother used to love playing pretend,” I murmured.  I spent a lot of time putting the past behind me.  But it had been harder lately, more of it seemed to surface.  I looked at Alduin.  He was Luna’s little brother and by extension mine.  He wasn’t Alaric, the differences were too glaring.  But there was still something about him that reminded me what it had been like, before I’d lost my brother.  It was a bittersweet feeling and one I wasn’t entirely comfortable with.

I must have let something show because I felt Alduin put a hand on my shoulder.  “This uh, might help cheer her up, then.”

“Yeah, yeah I think it will.  So, Mr. Writer.  Any ideas?  And think we can get it all set up before they get back?”

He grinned.  “Are you kidding? Let’s get everyone working on it. We can do this. I’ll talk to Dad and Pop. You talk to Mom, Nan and Cyn.” He stood up quickly, ready to make a break for it.

It almost brought out a chuckle.  I was well aware of his opinion on the females in this family.  Truth be told, I empathized with him to a certain extent.  But I had to rib him a bit.  “Oh sure, you would leave me with them, wouldn’t you?”

He stopped and looked at me, completely unrepentant.  “You, powerful vampire.  Me, unassuming loner.  I have faith in you, Roark.”

All I saw was his back in retreat as I called out, “I think I know why you like yellow!  You sure you don’t have “coward” in there instead of loner?”  He stopped and looked back at me, baring his fangs at me in a grin.  I waved him on.  “Go, go.  With tail tucked between your legs.  I’ll protect you from the vicious females.”

His laugh echoed back at me. “They scare me and I’m not ashamed to admit it!”

I sighed in bemusement.  Cyn would be easy.  Aurora would enjoy it, I was fairly sure.  Sophia… I had to admit, of all the Wyverns, Sophia was the most intimidating, even to me.  I wasn’t afraid of her, necessarily.  She reminded me of my first commanding officer after I enlisted.  Unassuming and even congenial, but when there was trouble, she hadn’t batted an eye.  I’d seen grown men, hardened men, cower before her without her raising her voice.  Erin Kennedy had been a transplant from Sunset Valley, risen in the ranks there, then transferred to whip the base in Bridgeport into shape.  Sophia was a lot like her.  Rubbing the back of my neck, I prepared to go and try to pull this together before Luna or Cali woke up.


Roark held a cup of coffee in his hand as he watched his wife sleep.  It wasn’t for him.  His smile was tender as he watched her begin to stir, her nose twitching as she caught the scent of the contents of the mug.  It was always a treat to watch her wake up.  She was still a little pale, but the pain seemed to have left her eyes.  In fact, they twinkled when they opened and lit upon the man standing there with a fresh cup of coffee.

“Is that for me?” she asked, tilting her head at him, a light in her eyes as she looked at him.

“Maybe.  How do you feel?”

“There’s only a dull ache now, and compared to last night, it’s a huge improvement.”

Roark nodded and came and sat down on the bed, handing her the coffee.  “Yeah, that’s definitely better than it was.  Still a bit pale, but your eyes are clear.”  He leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead.  “Luna.  I want your word that you will keep your shields up.  I’m going to bolster them so stray thoughts don’t get in.  What you did yesterday was bad enough to cause physical symptoms.  There’s no telling what the side effects of continuing to use your abilities will be until you heal.”

His wife sighed.  “Roark, I know-“

“Luna, please.  Promise me.”  His gaze was intense as he brought a hand to her cheek.  “You didn’t see yourself last night.  Will you do it, for me?”

The corners of her mouth curled up in a gentle smile.  “Alright, Roark.  For you.  I promise.”

“Good girl,” he murmured.  “Thank you.”  He touched his forehead to hers.  As he did so, he opened a hole in his own shields.  He extended his thoughts out and touched her shields.  Shields took different forms for different people.  When her grandfather had helped her develop her shields, he’d told her to visualize a wall, like the wall of a castle.  It was a good technique.  But much like a castle wall had arrow slits, there were holes in Luna’s shields.  Roark used his power now to help fill those holes.  He’d remove it after a week or so.  He hoped it was enough time for her to heal.

Roark finished and opened his eyes.  Luna crawled over onto his lap after kissing him.  She let out a soft sigh as she cuddled against his chest.  “I think, that after the day you and Cali had yesterday, you guys should go to your family’s spa.  I think it would do you both a lot of good.”

“Mm, that sounds like a wonderful idea,” she purred, nuzzling her cheek over his as she crawled into his lap.


Preparations took a little bit of time.  Alduin and I ran quickly into town to grab a few things while Sophia, Draco, Aurora, and Jeff got things set up in the garage.  But by the time I heard the roar of Luna’s muscle car on the road, we had everything set up.  I smiled at my baby sister.  “You’re up, Cyn.  You remember what to do?”

She nodded vigorously.  “I remember, big brother.  Cali and Luna will love this!  This is so much fun!”  I couldn’t stop smiling.  Cyn looked great.  I hadn’t seen her this excited about something since the one evening I’d taken her to the Summer Festival in Bridgeport.

I’d wanted nothing to do with the city, not after everything that had happened.  Alaric had already left us.  Cyn missed him terribly.  I couldn’t handle another trip to the hospital, so I’d taken her to the festival, hoping it would cheer her up.  She’d had a good time, just exploring the grounds and she even got her face painted.

She looked gorgeous in her chosen outfit for the skit.

“Go on outside.  I hear them now.”  I hugged her and she seemed to glide out the front door just as Luna and Cali pulled up.  I had to grin as I watched them from the window.  It seemed like forever before Cyn led them to the garage.

“Ok, everyone ready?”

I got nods and grins all around.  “Well, here we go then!”

It was pitch dark in the garage, but it wasn’t a problem for me.  Being a vampire has its uses.  I had to lead Alduin in so he didn’t fall flat on his face.  “Hey, watch it!” he grumbled as I made him sit.

“Shhh!” I had to hold in a laugh.

I took my place, and then the lights came on.

As Cyn gave her lines, I had to admire her.  She was doing really well.  She played her Pixiepire role very well.  “Once upon a time, in a desert beside a vast ocean, the pharaoh of Egypt woke up next to the king of pirates.”

Then I heard the reactions of our audience.  Calysta let out a whistle and called out, “I want a pyramid of my own, Pharaoh!”

Then I heard my own wife’s voice call out, “Where’s your queen, baby?  I volunteer!”  It sent a shiver down my spine and I had to hide a grin even as I had to recite my next lines.

Alduin had written the skit revolving around the Pharaoh and the Pirate King who had yet to find love.  It was a good idea, and the way Alduin had written it, the girls would love it.  Except… I’m no actor.  Not by a long shot.  I couldn’t help but stare at my wife, watch the play of emotions over her face.  Turns out, I’m not the only one who couldn’t concentrate on the skit.  My father-in-law couldn’t stop staring at his wife the entire time he was supposed to be speaking.

I did have to hand it to Cyn, though.  She really shined in her part.  Of course, I think she might be spending a bit too much time with my wife.  That smack upside the head was definitely an improvisation.  As was our wild west proprietor and his saloon girl making out in the corner.

By this point, poor Draco was the only one that seemed to be taking his role seriously at all.  He gave his speech rather eloquently.  But his granddaughter was busy flirting with me and I was busy flirting back.

Cyn was still having a ton of fun.  After the last “scene”, Cyn got to bring in the rest of the packages Alduin and I had picked up.  Cali and Luna tore into the packages and then ran up to Cyn’s room to change.  We waited downstairs.

Alduin was being impatient.  “What is taking them so long?” he groused.

Truth be told, I was getting impatient, too.  I wanted to see my wife.  As footsteps sounded above, I held my breath as my wife came down the steps.

It was like a punch right in the gut.  Luna was beautiful, inside and out.  But watching her descend those steps in the garb of a Pirate Queen… It fit her right down to the ground.

When she stood at the bottom of the stairs, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  She took my breath away on a regular basis.  But there was something in the way she looked at me then, something that had me closing my eyes for a moment.

She sauntered over to me, her hips swaying.  I’m pretty sure she was trying to kill me.  “Hello my King,” she whispered, her voice low and sultry.

“You… Luna, you are so beautiful.”  It wasn’t in character, wasn’t even all that eloquent as compliments go.  But I couldn’t get the words out.  I couldn’t find any that adequately described how I felt about what I was seeing, or how she made me feel on a regular basis.  I wasn’t a poet, I didn’t have my brother-in-law’s gift with words.

All I could do was tell her the best way I knew how.  Through my actions.  There was activity going on around us, I knew that.  Alduin had been laughing when his sister came down.  But I could hear his breath catch as Calysta came down.

Luna looped her arms around my neck.  We didn’t need words at that moment.  It worked for us.

Truth be told, I wanted to carry my wife off to bed immediately and I was pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that thought either.  But Cyn insisted that we all take some photos to commemorate the night.  So that’s what we did.  I’ll be putting a couple of these in my wallet, I think.

As I lay here, holding my wife close while we get ready to sleep after we had taken care of our son, I can’t help but look back on tonight with a smile.  I’m certainly no actor.  I’ll leave that to Calysta.  But it was the most fun I remember having… ever, really.  I snuggled closer to my wife.

“Good night my Pirate King,” she murmured, her voice already half-asleep.

“Good night, my Queen,” I whispered back, leaning up to kiss her cheek before closing my eyes and letting myself fall into sleep.


Author’s Note: Another huge shoutout to Ivane.  The shots from the skit are all hers.  Aren’t they just freakin’ awesome?  And she found the costumes which I just love!

Interlude Four: The Darkness Thickens

Bridgeport, a few weeks after Alaric’s death


 

The city’s lights faded away in the rearview mirror of the expensive car.

Belisama Donovan sat behind the wheel, her grip on the steering wheel made her knuckles white.  She had thought about ignoring this summons.  Had actually contemplated just ignoring and doing what she wanted.  But right on the heels of that thought was the possible consequences from ignoring the summons.  Though she hated to admit it, those thoughts sent a shiver down her spine.  And so, she found herself following a winding road out of the city.

It looked like nothing more than a small stone shack on the far outskirts of the city.  But looks could be deceiving.  Bridgeport was home to one of the world’s only super, super max security prison facility.  It was the kind of place that was used to house supernaturals.  The only place that could, aside from the Netherworld, anyway.  Belisama looked disdainfully at the shack façade as she climbed out of her car.  She walked through the double doors into the barren interior.  In front of her was an elevator.

She rode it down and instinctively knew that they were several stories below the surface.  The wards, both technological and magical, made her skin crawl.  Hmph, she’s the one locked up like a rat in a cage and she has the nerve to summon me like a wayward child!

She went through the security station.  There were no guards here.  There didn’t need to be.  Those wards were more than enough to keep the inmates in line.  And if by some miracle, they managed to escape, the unseen guards would take care of them.

Another shudder ran over Belisama’s flesh, raising goosebumps along her arms.  She sauntered through the double doors in front of her.

There was almost a sucking sound, as if the next little room was some sort of a vacuum.  Then she was through the last set of double doors, a huge window looking through into a room on the other side.

The woman on the cot had been waiting for this visitor.  She didn’t need to look to know it was her.  Her energy was only too familiar.  Elvira supposed it was better late than never, though the lack of obedience would need to be dealt with.

Belisama looked around, that unmistakable sneer on her face.  “How the mighty have fallen,” she murmured, though not even she was brave enough to say it any louder.  She watched out of the corner of her eye as Elvira levered herself off the dingy cot in the corner of the small cell.

Elvira wanted to wipe the smirk off the arrogant chit’s face, but that would have to wait.  They had much to discuss first.

The elder vampire matriarch went and sat down in the small chair in the cell, steepling her hands in front of her as she rested her elbows on her knees.  “I’m glad you could finally join me,” she murmured.  She had no need to raise her voice.  She would be heard.  Belisama had gone right up to the glass, peering in.

That voice… it sent a chill down Belisama’s spine.  Her mother in law had always been able to do that.  The power seemed to roll off Elvira Slayer in waves.  One could forget it for short periods, but never when they were in her presence.  That thought of defiance, of refusing to sit, flew out of Belisama’s mind.  She took the seat, even as Elvira stood up, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Good girl,” Elvira murmured.  “Now, shall we get down to business?”

“That would be appreciated.”  Belisama managed to inject enough disdain in there to make it clear what she thought of being summoned there, yet Elvira had to admire her pluck.  At least for a short amount of time.

“Word has reached me that you plan on traveling to Monte Vista.  Didn’t I make myself clear already?  Any moves against the Wyverns are to be made only with my express permission.”

Belisama’s eyes narrowed dangerously.  “I see your network is as strong as ever.  There’s no point in lying.  Yes, I plan on going there.  I plan on ripping Luna Wyvern’s heart out of her chest while that traitor watches.”

Elvira sneered.  “Do you even have any idea who you’re dealing with?  The Wyverns are powerful.  More powerful than you can imagine.  And their home is surrounded by wards.  Wards that will turn you to dust before you could attempt to step across the threshold.”

“You’d let them get away with they have!?” Belisama hissed, clenching her hands into fists.  “They killed your son, my husband!”  Fury and what might have been grief colored her pale cheeks.

“I’m well aware of what they’ve done.”  Elvira’s voice was as cold as an Arctic wind and her eyes flashed dangerously.  “They will pay, in due time.  But touching them in their home territory is not only foolish but dangerous.  I gave those orders for a reason.  Don’t you think I would have already taken care of them by now if caution wasn’t needed?”

“I want her dead!” Belisama exploded.  “She deserves to die for what she did!  Alaric tried to protect her and it got him killed!”

She had begun to rise from her chair but then dropped back in shock as the lights all around her went out.  Elvira hadn’t moved.  But all the lights had simply died… Belisama knew fear then.  Elvira could manipulate things in this place?

“Yes, she deserves to die,” Elvira continued, as if nothing untoward had occurred.  “They all do for their interference.  I have already begun to ensure that, but the fact remains that attacking them on their home turf is out of the question.  Disobey me in this at your own peril, Belisama.  My name, nor my power can protect you in Monte Vista.”

Belisama knew a dismissal when she heard it and she was only too happy to make a beeline for the door.  She couldn’t help looking over her shoulder as if something monster was behind her.  But even as she left Elvira’s presence, fury and something akin to shame assailed her.  How dare that woman order her about like some dog.  She had a right to avenge her husband’s death.  So their home was warded.  There were other ways to get to someone.


 

Elvira watched Belisama’s retreat with the same stony expression.  Only once she could feel the girl leave the premises did she allow the malicious smile to cross her lips.  The seeds had been planted.  She knew Belisama better than the girl knew herself.  Even terrified, the girl’s rebellious streak and need to prove that she was her own boss would send her running to Monte Vista.  Elvira very much doubted Belisama would succeed in her mission, though even if the girl managed to do half of what she wanted, it would be worth it.  And Elvira had no doubt that the Wyverns would rid her of the nuisance that Belisama had become.  It was killing two birds with one stone, as far as she saw it.  And if Belisama managed to kill Luna Wyvern?  All the better.

Her eyes glowed red in the absence of light and the abyss seemed to look back.


 

Chapter 37: Brighter Days

Luna rubbed the back of her neck, then stretched a little.  The desk was uncomfortable, especially having to lean over because her belly wouldn’t allow her to push the chair all the way in.  But she didn’t want to stop.  She was almost to the end.  Her cheeks were damp with tears and the paper showed a few blotches from where they had fallen onto the pages.  But her mother had been right.  She’d needed to do this.  Getting it all out was helping.  She thought she’d always carry the twin seeds of guilt and regret within her, but it wasn’t quite so bad now.  Getting it all out was helping, a little.

Something made her look up.  Her eyes lit up and she stood.  Roark stood in the doorway, watching her.  “How are you feeling?” he asked her quietly, going to her and framing her face with his hands.

“Back’s sore,” she confessed.  “But otherwise ok.  Just waiting for this little one to be ready.”  She grinned ruefully.  Her child was taking their sweet time in appearing.  She had been due almost two weeks ago.  Her dad had told her they’d wait another week.  If she hadn’t gone into labor by then, they were going to take the child through cesarean section.

“They’ll come when they’re ready,” her husband murmured.  He looked at the desk.  “Writing again?” he asked quietly.  He seemed to be searching her eyes for something.  “Is it helping?”

Luna nodded.  “It seems to be.”  She swallowed.  She’d been an emotional wreck since the day Alaric had died.  Add pregnancy hormones to everything else and you had a recipe for a lot of crying.  “I-I don’t know how I can ever make up for what I did.  I-“

Roark put a finger to her lips.  “Luna, we’ve gone over that, haven’t we?  We both made mistakes, a lot of them.  We both have to take responsibility for what we did- and didn’t- do.  We’ll get through this.  We will.”

She leaned forward, resting her forehead against his.

“I know,” she murmured.  After a moment, he put her at arm’s length.  “Why don’t I give you a backrub, then you can come back to this, ok?”

“I think I like that idea.”


 

The night Alaric died… I was in a haze.  I barely remember talking to the cops, guys I knew.  I just remembered the look in all their eyes.  I thought it was accusation, though in hindsight, maybe I thought I deserved it.  Alaric was dead because of me.  Once the questioning was over, I ran.  Roark had been trying to get to me for hours afterward, but I just… couldn’t.  I couldn’t face him, after everything.  I just couldn’t do it.  I hid away.  I talked to no one, I didn’t work…  I ignored phone calls, emails… any attempts to get in touch with me were ignored.  Somewhere, I knew my family must have been going out of their mind.  But I couldn’t face them, any more than I could have faced Roark.

Almost two weeks later, I began to be ill.  Anything I ate would come back up.  After almost a month of that, I finally went out and went to the doctor’s.  When they told me I was pregnant… I broke down and bawled right in the clinic.  I was pregnant…  Oh Watcher, what was I going to do?

For almost three months in total, two months of it being pregnant, I continued to wallow.  I took care of myself, such as it was, though it was really just going through the motions.  And then finally, staring out that window, I realized that I needed my family.  I needed them like I never had before.  And after I told my mom everything… I knew there was one last thing I had to do.  I took a taxi from the apartment and gave the driver Roark’s address.

I knocked on the door.  Roark answered.  When he saw me… I almost burst into tears then.  There was such naked emotion on his face, it hurt to look at him.  He was so focused on the fact that I was there, he didn’t seem to realize I was in maternity wear, nor that I had gained a little weight.  He looked… elated and apprehensive all at once.

He must have starred at me, just starred at me for ten minutes.  Finally, he shook his head, as if coming to.  “Come in, please.  Have a seat.  Do you want anything?  A drink?  Anything?”  I had taken a seat on the couch.  I just shook my head, unable to speak past the lump in my throat.  He sat next to me and silence reigned for quite a while.

Finally, I stood up, unable to take it anymore.  I felt like a coward, among my many other sins.  I couldn’t face him, but I knew I needed to get it out.  “Roark,” I began in a rush, “I’m pregnant.  I-I… I don’t know if you’re the father or not.”

Silence reigned for a long moment.  I didn’t dare turn around.  I was afraid what I would see on his face.  He must have suspected something happened between Alaric and I.  My nerves, already strung out to the breaking point, were perilously close to snapping.  I wanted to sink onto the floor, curl into a ball and just sob.  Just as I was about to give into the sensation, there was a hand on my shoulder, and I was spun around.  The next thing I knew, Roark had wrapped his arms around and pulled me close.

“Luna,” he whispered in my ear.  “Whether I’m the father or not, that child is mine.  You are mine.  We’ll get through this.  I-I can’t tell you what it did to me to see you tonight.  I-I thought I was dreaming.  I love you, Luna.  I’m so sorry, so sorry for everything.  I want to work on things, want us to be together.  Is that what you want, Luna?”

He put me at arm’s length, looking deep into my eyes.  “Yes,” I whispered.  “Yes.”  I did break down then, clinging to him.  He held me as I sobbed, brokenly getting out my confession.  I told him all of it, what happened after I’d left him, how I’d gone to see Alaric again.  The drinks, seducing Alaric… He stopped me for a moment.

“Luna.”  His voice was gentle.  There were none of the recriminations, or accusations that I had been prepared… even welcomed.  There was only love in his eyes.  “He played you.  He was always good at that…”  He swallowed.  “He wanted to drive a wedge between us.  It’s why he told you who we were.  W-when he called me… he told me he’d… been with you.  He said you were beautiful and in the same breath, he told me if I didn’t come to the warehouse, he’d make sure your body was dumped on my doorstep.  My brother was a lot of things.  He’d never been a murderer, though.  But I couldn’t take that chance.  I couldn’t risk you.”  He smoothed a hand through my hair, just looking at me for a moment.  The tenderness made my throat close up.

“R-roark, I don’t deserve you,” I whispered.

He put a hand gently under my chin, tilting my head up.  “Luna, we both made mistakes.  I should have told you from the beginning.  I-I can’t imagine how betrayed you must have felt when you found out.  I-I… And I should have told you why.  I was scared.  Once I realized who you were… once I connected the Wyvern name back to your grandfather… I should have told you.  But I didn’t.”

 

“And I should have listened to you,” I murmured.  “I should have stayed away from Alaric.  I was just so… angry.  So hurt…  I-I wanted to hurt you as much as you’d hurt me.  I hate that that’s in me, Roark.  A-and I hate what it brought on.  If I stayed and talked to you, if I had been able to put away my pride long enough to listen… none of it would have happened and maybe… maybe your brother would still be alive.”

 

“We both made mistakes, Luna.  Mistakes we both have to live with.  Alaric… I couldn’t save him.  I lost him years ago.  I thought I’d kept him safe, kept him away from the life my mother wanted for him.  But I couldn’t.  He had always been so angry.  Angry at me, angry at our mother, yet he idolized her.   That anger ate at him.   In the end, though… in the end, I think he found something that helped cool that anger.  You.  Something happened between you that night.  You were able to reach a part of him that I never could.”

 

I swallowed, guilt assailing me.  “A-all I could see was your face, Roark.  I just- just wanted to stop the pain.  I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry for everything.  How can you still care for me?”

 

“None of us are perfect, Luna.  None of us.  If you’ll have me, I’d like to try to work through this, together.  And-and I want to be there for the baby.  And for you.”

 

I could only nod.  “Y-yes.  Yes I want that.”

 

He smiled at me, then leaned down to rest a hand on my stomach.  “Hey, little one,” he murmured.  “I’m your Daddy.”

I broke down again.  What had I done to deserve this man?  I couldn’t think of a single thing good, only several things that spoke to the opposite.  Yet here he was…  “Roark,” I murmured.  He straightened and looked at me, tilting his head.

 

“What is it?”

 

“I want you to come home with me,” I told him.  “I-I want to go home and I want you and Cyn to come with me.”

 

He pursed his lips for a moment.  “I have a few favors I can call in.  A transfer to the base in Monte Vista is feasible.  Go, rest.  Let me make some calls ok?”

 

I nodded, feeling numb somehow, yet full of so much emotion, I didn’t know what to do with it.

 

While I slept, Roark made his calls.

He woke me up a few hours later.  “Our flight is booked.  I’ve talked to Cyn.  We leave in a week.  Should be enough time for us to get our stuff packed.”

 

I was… shocked.  I had wanted him to come with me, but I think there was a part of me that didn’t believe he would, not after everything that had happened between us.  But we were going.  I nodded.  “A week.”

 


The week passed quickly.  Roark and Cyn packed up what belongings they wanted to bring with them.  It wasn’t much, really.  I asked Roark why.  “This was never really home, Luna.  It was the place our mother dumped us in, to get us out of the way.  What little we have packed made it that little piece of home.  All I need is Cyn, you, and the baby you carry.  You need your family, Luna.  We’ll figure out how to deal with all this there.”

 

That was that.  Once the luggage was packed and the things we didn’t need on the plane were shipped, we boarded our plane.  It was a long flight.  I spent most of it either sleeping or throwing up.  I don’t handle travel well while pregnant, it seems.  But finally, we touched down.  I don’t remember the car ride from the airport.  Roark had slid behind the wheel, Cyn in the back.  She’d let me have the front.  Before I knew it, the car was stopping.  “We’re here, babe,” Roark murmured.

 

He helped me out of the car and gave my hand a squeeze.  Cyn and Roark looked at the house; I could see the apprehension on their faces.  Me… I was home.  I was home, Roark and Cyn were here with me.

I didn’t expect anyone to be up.  I’d told them we wouldn’t get in till late and not to wait up.  I should have known better.  As we walked in, I saw a familiar shape at the island in the kitchen.  Of course my mother would wait up for us to get there.

“Mama,” I whispered walking in.  She got up and went right to me.  She put a gentle hand on my arm.  There were tears in her eyes.

 

“Welcome home, baby,” she murmured.

 

Roark and Cyn stood there for a moment, not sure what to say.  But mom turned to them, smiling.  “Welcome, both of you.  I’m sure you both are exhausted.  Cyn, there’s a bedroom upstairs for you to use, dear.  We have a bit of a surprise for you, but it isn’t ready quite yet.  There were some delays.  You can have your dogs just explore.  Ares and Apollo will be glad of more playmates, I’m sure.”  She turned to Roark.  “Welcome to our home, Roark.  Take my daughter to bed and see that she gets some rest, will you?”

Mom turned back to me.  “I managed to convince everyone to sleep tonight.  But I imagine they’ll be awake early and they’ll all want to see you and to meet your young man.  Go rest baby.  You look very… drawn.”

We easily took her advice.  Roark put his arm around my waist, helping to support me.  I realized I’d been swaying on my feet.  He walked me to my room down the hallway.  It hadn’t changed in the three years that I’d been way.  It was still the same.  It was home.  He tucked me into bed first, then slid in next to me.  I curled up next to him.  I was home.  Roark was next to me.  For the first time since everything happened, a tiny seed of hope had begun to bloom.

As exhausted as I was, I only managed a few hours of sleep.  The baby had been moving around a lot and when they finally settled down, they had decided that settling on my bladder was the perfect position.  I got up to go to the bathroom.  I looked down at Roark who was still sleeping.  Still a bit incredulous that he was here with me, I just watched him for a long moment.  I didn’t want to disturb him, so I left, thinking I’d see what leftovers there were.  In our house, there were always leftovers.  As I approached the kitchen, I heard the soft murmur of voices.

 

My throat closed up.  Dad and Pop.  I could picture just what they were doing.  They’d been doing it since I could remember, sitting at the chess table, talking about anything and everything.  As I walked out, I saw them just where I knew I would.

As soon as they saw me, Dad got up to give me a hug.

Immediately after that, he had to lean down to press a hand to my swollen stomach.  “And how are you feeling, baby girl?  You look tired.”

“The next person to tell me that, I may have to smack,” I told them, a ghost of a smile tugging at my mouth.  It was already good to be home, but there was still a part of me that felt… detached, even separate.  Dad laughed, giving me another hug.

“Leave the girl alone,” Pop admonished.  He grinned at me.  “Welcome home, our little Eclipse.  It’s good to have you back.”  He pulled me into a close, but gentle hug.

“It’s good to be home, Pop.  It really is.  I-I’m sorry.  I-“  Pop shook his head.

 

“You have no reason to apologize.  I want you to do me a favor, baby girl, ok?  I want you to try to forgive yourself and to relax.  It isn’t good to be so stressed with the baby.  Try to cut yourself a break, ok?”

I could only nod, unable to speak past the lump in my throat.  “Love you, Pop.”

 

“We love you too, Eclipse.  Now, where’s your young man?”

 

I had to snort.  “Pop, he’s actually older than all of you, you know.”

 

He snorted.  “He’s your young man, so hush.”

 

I could feel an actual smile forming.  It was the first one I could remember in quite a while.  “Whatever you say, Pop.  Anyway, he’s still sleeping.  The baby decided they wanted to keep me up, but I thought he should still sleep.”  I grinned.  “I figure he’ll need to be tip top to have to deal with our crew here.”

 

Throughout everything, I had never doubted that my family would accept Roark.  Was he the son of Elvira Slayer?  Only in the most biological sense.  He was a good man and I knew my family would see that.  I know he was worried about how they’d deal with him, and he had told me that he fully expected them to be upset, considering who he was.  But he beat himself up about that more than anyone, even if he was as far from his parents as it was possible to be.  To find that I was right, it helped steady me.  That’s what family did.  They helped steady you when your foundation had been rocked.

 

Before too long, I heard the door to my room open and I went to see him.  He kissed me, then pulled away.  “How do you feel?”

 

“Better,” I told him truthfully.  “I-I needed this, needed to come back home.  Thank you.”

“I want what’s best for you, Luna.  For you and the baby.”

 

I nodded.  I realized that, realized that was all he wanted.  I teared up.  “I know.  I know that.  Thank you.  My family wants to have a chat after breakfast, ok?”

 

I could see the apprehension come back into his eyes, but he nodded.  “Of course, baby.”  I wanted to reassure him, but I realized that wouldn’t work.  He’d need to experience it himself.  So I smiled at him.  He’d see.  He’d been right.  We’d get through this, together.


 

Chapter 31: Alis volat propriis

“She flies with her own wings.”

I found this quote today.  It was very appropriate.  Today, my oldest child graduated.  It’s quite the paradox for a parent, I think.  It is a moment of great pride… and one of terrible sadness.  It marks a great transition in the life of a Sim in this day and age.  I wish I had thought to ask my grandmother what it had been like in times past.  But then I didn’t understand the significance, I suppose at the time.  But now, it is indelibly ingrained.

It was raining, so we all hurried out in our nice clothes to Dad’s waiting van.  With so many of us, the van is the only vehicle we can really take.

Oh yes… So much has been happening of late that I didn’t mention that we lost Megara a few days ago.  That’s why my poor mother is grieving a bit in that picture.  It was an inevitability, really.  She pined around the house after Hercules passed.  But now she can join him again, wherever they are.

Where was I?  Oh yes, Luna’s graduation.  Jeff was on one side of me, Alduin on the other.  As I watched my daughter go across the stage, I couldn’t help but glance over at my boy.  Before I knew it, he’d be the one walking across the stage.  Time surely does fly…  The ceremony was relatively short, but I swear, the speeches also seem to take forever during this. Some of them are quite good, but still.  Brings back flashbacks of my own graduation.

The ceremony ended and we all headed out.  It was official.  My little girl was no longer so little.  While Alduin went off to go read one of his beloved books, Luna asked the rest of us if we could talk.  I felt a shiver of trepidation run down my spine.  My daughter had learned as a child to shield, both from getting stray thoughts, but also from broadcasting her own unless she wants to.  Strong thoughts still get out and emotions still flare up around her… she’s such a passionate person, it’s bound to happen.  I’m not sure if that trepidation I was feeling was from me or from her, honestly.  All I knew is I was dreading this talk.  Honestly, I was afraid she was announcing her intention to join the force full time.

Still, we all assembled at the dining room table.

Luna cleared her throat and we all sat down.  We looked at her expectantly.  My daughter bowed her head for a moment.  When she raised it, the determination in her eyes made me wither a little inside.  “I know you guys are worried about me,” she began slowly, looking each of us in the eye.  “And I appreciate that, I really do.”  She drew in a deep breath.  “I have decided [i]not[/i] to continue with the police department.”

A collective sigh of relief ran around the table and I closed my eyes in gratitude.  But something made me open them again and that feeling of trepidation returned with a vengeance.

“I want to become a private investigator.”  She looked at her grandfather and looked at him tenderly.  “I’ve always admired you, Pop, you know that.  And I believe in what they do.  But… just too restrictive for me.  I believe in the system, I do… but I’d be too afraid of taking shortcuts because the ends justify the means.”

We all looked at one another.  Dad spoke first.  “I understand your reservations there.  Luna, you know we’ll support you in whatever you want to do.  Being a PI would suite you quite well, I think.”  He grinned at her.

But she didn’t meet his gaze fully.  “I… Pop, there’s something else.”  She looked around at all of us again.  Her voice was quiet.  “Since I was little, I’ve had dreams.  I’ve told you about them.  I need to figure out what they mean.  To do that… I need to go to Bridgeport.”

Silence stunned the table and we could only goggle at her.  I couldn’t get any words to form as my mind went into a tailspin.  Dad looked stunned, Mom was biting her lip.  It was Jeff though that finally spoke.  “Luna… you’re 18 now,” he began, though I could see the war within him.  “Y-you’re old enough to make your own decisions… but… have you thought about this?”

Luna nodded.  “I’ve thought about this, Dad.  Thought about this for years now.  I thought about ignoring the dreams… but I can’t.  I need to find out what they mean.”  She swallowed visibly.  “I don’t want to hurt any of you.  But this is something I have to do.  Do you understand?”

No, no I didn’t understand!  She couldn’t go to Bridgeport, not to that cursed place!  But I still couldn’t speak.  Jeff was right… she was old enough to make her own decisions, so I remained silent.  Luna smiled at all of us.  “I won’t be leaving right away.  I have to get my PI license squared away, though I’ve started the paperwork on that.”  She stood up and the rest of us followed.  Smiling as if she hadn’t sent us all into turmoil, she went off to presumably check on that paperwork.  I stood there stunned for a long moment.

Dad tapped me on the shoulder.  “C’mon,” he murmured, “let’s go grab some of those burgers your mom made earlier.  Then we can talk.”

I nodded numbly.  As I sat at the island next to Dad, he was silent for a moment, thinking.  “Aurora, letting your kids grow up is one of the hardest things you can go through.”  He looked at me.  “I don’t like it any more than you do, baby, but… Luna needs to do what she thinks she has to.  ‘She needs to fly on her own wings’.  You were much the same.”

“But she’s going to Bridgeport!” I hissed.  “How can you be ok with this?  That place has haunted her dreams for so long…”  Tears stood in my eyes.  “Dad, I keep seeing you in that hospital room and-and even worse, in that- monster’s office.  How can I let my baby go there?”

He didn’t speak right away.  Dad had always been one for thinking on what he said.  “When we love someone, we have to let them go.  We’ve prepared her the best we can, baby.”

“Luna’s tough,” a little voice interjected.  Alduin had come out to play a little chess.  He must have heard the conversation.  “S-she’ll be ok.”  My poor boy only knew some of the stories about what had happened to his grandfather.  But what he knew was bad enough.  “Right, Pop?”

Dad smiled at his grandson.  “Right, kiddo.  Your sister’s a smart cookie.  She’ll be ok.”

I wish I could be as confident.  I knew what Dad said made sense.  But that tightness in my chest wouldn’t go away.  Luna came out from her room and smiled at me.  The chair scraped along the floor as I got up.  “Luna…” I murmured.  I’d be calm about this.  I had  a right to voice my concerns, didn’t I?”

“You can’t go!” I blurted out.

I should have known better.  In this family, the surest way of getting someone to do something was telling them not to do it…  My daughter’s eyes narrowed.  “Mom, you don’t have a say in it.  I’ve already found an apartment.”

“I won’t give you the money!” I snarled.  Anger swirled with fear to the point I just couldn’t see past them.  I was desperate to stop her.  Desperate to keep her safe, even if she hated me for it.  Again, I should know better, though…

Her eyes turned icy and her chin went up.  I knew that defiant stance all too well.  We were a family, a close one.  But we fought.  I remembered that look all too well from the one rather large argument we’d had when I tried to convince her to go to her prom.  She’d dug her heels in, saying she just didn’t feel like going.  “I’ll pay for it myself then,” she hissed, “I have some money in my savings still.  You aren’t going to stop me, Mom.”

I opened my mouth to argue, but then I just burst into tears.  Sobs wracked my body.  Immediately, my daughter threw her arms around me and pulled me close.

“Mom,” she whispered.  “Please, I’ll be ok.  I-I need to do this.  Just like you needed to go to University.  To prove that you could.  I- need to know.”

Swallowing my tears, I pulled back and looked at her.  I saw her then, for the first time.  She wasn’t just my daughter.  She was a grown woman now.  She had the right to decide what she wanted to do with her life.  We weren’t normal.  These gifts we had made us who we were.  To deny her this would be unfair, even cruel.  “Yes, you’re right, baby.  You do need to do this,” I whispered, though each word took a sliver of my heart with it.  Oh Watcher… my baby was going to Bridgeport…


 

The last few days have been a bit of blur.  Once the family all agreed on helping Luna go to Bridgeport- we were going to do all in our power to ensure that would be as ready and as protected as we could arrange without knowing the future.  She’d showed us the pictures of the apartment she’d found online.  It was a nice little place, truth be told.  “Have you talked to the landlord yet?” I asked her.

“A little, mostly through email.  His name’s Roark Donovan and he seems nice enough.  He told me the apartment has been redone, all new fixtures, appliances, the works.  And it’s already furnished, so that’ll be nice.”

Something about the name struck a chord in me, but I couldn’t place it.  “That sounds lovely dear.  So…”  I grinned.  “I know you leave tomorrow.  Why don’t we have a little family pool party?  The weather’s beautiful.”

Luna grinned and did a little boogey.  “That’s a great idea, Mom!”

And so, we all ended up in the pool, splashing one another, having breath holding contests and other foolishness.  My mother, by the way, always wins.

I had to have a bit of fun, so I snuck out of the pool, then ran up onto the diving board and leapt in, tucking my knees tight to my chest.  I hadn’t done a cannonball since I was a kid.

“I give that splash a solid 6!” my son called out as he wiped water out of his eyes.  “Form was a little off, though.  Coulda gotten a bigger splash!”

He squealed when I reached for him, intending to dunk him, but the little brat escaped.  As my family cavorted among the gently lapping waters of our pool, I climbed out and looked at them all.  Tears gathered in my eyes as I realized this could be the last time we’d be together as a family like this.  I began to sob; nothing I did seemed to help.

Jeff saw me and got out, wrapping his arms around me.  “It’ll be ok, baby.  Sshhh,” he whispered, nuzzling his cheek against him.  “She’s a strong girl.  Just like her mother.  She’ll be ok.”

After a moment, he put me at arm’s length and smiled.  “Someone else wants a moment with you.”

Luna stepped up and then grabbed me in a hug.  “Mama, please don’t cry,” she whispered.  “I can’t stand to see you cry.”

“I’m your mama,” I whispered back.  “I have to cry when I know my baby’s leaving.  I love you.”

“I love you too, Mama.  I promise, I’ll email or call every other day.”

I looked at her suspiciously.  “I thought the deal was for you to do that every day…”

“Well, I’ll try,” she replied with a grin.  “But if I’m on a case or something, might be better to say every other day, right?”

“Hm… I suppose…”


 

Why is it that when you want time to slow down, it seems to speed up and when you want it to speed up, it seems to take forever?  My father says that it’s a conundrum that will never be solved.  I suppose he’s right.  But that evening flew by.  After our dip in the pool, we went back in the house and sat around the living drinking hot chocolate and just laughing and sharing stories.  There was still a tension there, an uneasiness about the unknown.  But sitting there, with all my family there, I begin to believe that it will be alright.  It has to be…

And now, it’s 4 am and we’re all gathered in the kitchen.  Mom gave Luna her car.  She’ll drive it to the airport, then it will be ferried to Bridgeport for her.  Her stuff was all packed and ready.  Since her apartment was already furnished, she didn’t need much and despite Luna’s glamorous appearance at times, she was a light packer.  We all milled around, waiting to say our goodbyes.

Luna started with Mom first.  As my mother squeezed her granddaughter in a surprisingly strong grip, I heard her murmur, “You take care yourself, girl.  Don’t take any nonsense, alright?”

“You got it Nan.”

Next, it was her father’s turn.  Jeff put his arms around her.  “Take care, baby girl.  You know you can call me anytime you need to talk.”

“I know, daddy,” she murmured.  Her voice was thick with emotion already.  I realized that this was something she wanted, but it wouldn’t be easy for her, being away from her family.  Shame flared in me.  I hadn’t made it any easier on her by acting the way I had.

She came to me next.  “Mom,” she whispered, her voice cracking.  I grabbed her into a hug, holding tight.

“We love you so much, Luna.  I’m sorry.  I just… I’m going to miss you.  Be careful, alright?”

“I promise I will, Mom.  I’ll be careful.”

Alduin waited there, looking off to the side.  It was hard not to notice the bit of moisture in his eyes.  He looked up at his big sister.  “You’ll write and call won’t you?”

Luna smiled and gently ruffled his hair as was her habit.  Normally, it elicited a boisterous response with a lot of pretend griping.  But just then, my son sniffled and he flung himself at his sister.  She held him tightly, closing her eyes a moment.  “Hey,” she whispered.  “Remember what I told ya, ok?  Don’t be afraid to be who you want to be.  But don’t hide yourself away all the time, either, alright?  I love you, lil brother.”

“I love you, too, Luna.”

Lastly, she went to my dad.  He grinned at her and held out his arms.  “C’mere kiddo.”

I heard the catch of her breath and a soft hiccup of a sob as he wrapped his arms around her.  “I have every faith in you, Luna,” my father told her.  “You’re so strong.  And you know we’re here for you.  We’re only a phone call away and can be in Bridgeport if you need us in a matter of hours.”

“I-I know, Pop.  Thank you.”

“Take care of yourself, my little Eclipse.”


 

 

As the family gathered around her one last time, Aurora stepped forward, a large book clutched in her hand.  “Your grandfather and I talked it over, Luna.  It’s time.  You’re ready to take over now.”  She placed the book in Luna’s hands.  Luna’s gaze met her mother’s.

“I’ll do you guys proud, I promise.”

Aurora sniffled.  “Oh baby, you’ve always made me proud.  Now, go out and show them what a Wyvern can do, ok?”

Then, Luna turned away and left.  She didn’t dare look back until she was in her Nan’s car.  She saw them there, her mother and father, her little brother, and her grandmother and grandfather.  The ache in her heart was fierce, but this wasn’t goodbye.  This was important.  She knew it was.

“I’ll be back, guys,” she murmured as she pulled away.


 

The flight itself was over 8 hours.  Her Nan’s car wouldn’t be shipped over for about a week, so Luna took a taxi from the airport to the address of her new apartment.  She stepped out and looked up at it.  There was something about this place.  She couldn’t have said what.  Maybe it was all those memories from when she’d been four and waiting in a hospital waiting room, but while the cityscape was pretty beautiful, there was a feeling of something beneath the surface.  Still, there was a feeling of belonging.  In this time, in this place, she was right where she needed to be.

With her head held high and awaiting new adventures, Luna walked into her apartment building.


 

Chapter 23: The Dragon’s Heir

A/N:  Hope you guys enjoy this update.  This is done almost entirely with Pose Player.  Now, I don’t plan on using it a ton because I do like letting the gameplay speak for itself.  But since I’m experimenting, I used it a lot here after I had the idea to use this storyline.  So I hope you guys enjoy it.  If you notice anything I can do differently or like something more than another, please, let me know!  Without further ado, here’s Chapter 23!

It’s amazing how time can change.  It’s only been a few hours since we arrived at the hospital in Bridgeport.  Yet it feels like days, months since we boarded the plane.  Jeff and I wait out in the waiting room with walls that are supposed to be a soothing light blue with Luna while Mom is at his bedside.  She hasn’t left since he came out of the last surgery.  I can only look through the little windows since no one is supposed to be in the room.  They made an exception for her.

“Baby, why don’t you go to the hotel, try to get some sleep?” Jeff murmured to me.

“I can’t.  I just… can’t.  I can’t leave.”

“Rora…”  He sighed and just settled back onto the couch in the waiting room.  He knew trying to argue with me was useless.  At least, about this.  I knew he was worried about me.  An empath in a hospital was bad enough, but an empath in a hospital watching her father fight for his life was excruciating.  But I couldn’t leave.

I can’t settle, no matter what I do.  Even as my daughter plays with the little dollhouse in the corner, I get up and pace, then take a seat on the floor.  Poor Jeff doesn’t know what to do.  He tries to comfort and honestly, just his presence is calming, but still…

We’ve had no word from the doctors, not since they told us that dad would need to go for another surgery, except he wasn’t strong enough, not yet.  They didn’t say that time was of the essence- they didn’t have to.  Even if I couldn’t feel it from them, it was written over their faces.  Oh Watcher… what are we going to do?

Jeff squatted down next to me, putting a hand on my shoulder.  “I’m going to run to the vending machines, grab a coffee.  Do you want anything?”

I just shook my head.  The thought of something even as simple as coffee made me ill and that is saying something.  Even as he went to leave, I could feel his gaze lingering over me.


Jeff headed out into the hallway, toward the vending machine, his hands in the pockets of his coat.  He was a doctor himself.  He knew by the snippets he’d been able to glean that it didn’t look good.  Ah Watcher… He ran a hand agitatedly through his hair.  It didn’t seem real.  He dealt with this kinda thing, day in and day out, but it was a lot different when it was one of your own.  Not Draco… Jeff hit the vending machine with the heel of his hand, letting out a curse.  Despite the somewhat rocky start to their relationship, Jeff had gotten quite close to his father-in-law.  Jeff was an orphan, spent most of his time in state run homes.  When he’d moved in with Aurora and her parents, he’d finally had a family.  And now…

His gaze sharpened as a figure in scrubs approached.  “Dr. Blakely!”  The surgeon who had spoken to them jerked and looked at Jeff, blinking.  Jeff recognized exhaustion when he saw it.  He gentled his voice.  “Dr. Blakely, I’m Dr. Jeffrey Dean.  I’m in my residency at Dr. Simano’s Sanatorium in Monte Vista.  Look, that’s my father in law in there.  What can you tell me?”

Dr. Blakely looked toward the end of the hall, into the waiting room, then he sighed.  “Doctor… I shouldn’t be speaking with you, you know that.  But I will, doctor to doctor, alright?”  Jeff swallowed.  “Mr. Wyvern– your father-in-law–  was found at least three hours after he was shot.  The fact that he survived long enough to even make it here is, in itself, a miracle.  We’ve done all we can at this point.  He’s too weak to go for another surgery, but without it… it’s only a matter of time.”

Jeff shut his eyes.  His residency involved trauma situations, and he knew the dangers of a penetrating chest wound.  “Is it a pericardial tamponade?”

The doctor nodded bleakly.  “I’m afraid so.  We tried to perform pericardiocentesis without putting him fully under for a thoracotomy.  We’ve repaired what we could in the first two surgeries, but the bullet did a tremendous amount of damage.  He’s not capable of breathing on his own, which is why he’s on a ventilator.  I’m sorry- but I wish I could give you some kind of hope.  I just… don’t see how.”

“T-thank you, for being honest with me and speaking with me.  N-now I have to find a way to tell my wife… and my daughter.  S-she’s only four.”  Jeff scrubbed his hands over his face, feeling the bite of tears in his eyes.

Dr. Blakely put a hand on his shoulder in sympathy then walked off, holding a cup of coffee.  His own coffee forgotten, Jeff stood there for a moment, feeling lost.  Knowing he had to tell Aurora, he made himself go back in.  His gaze saw his little girl, still playing quietly.  She’d been an angel this whole time.

Then he brought his gaze reluctantly to meet his wife’s.  She couldn’t read him like she could others, but she must have seen it in his eyes, the lack of hope.  She let out one little whimper.  The noise was all Luna needed.  The toddler began to cry, begging for her Pop-pop.

They scooped her up together, holding her between them, trying to comfort her, but it was hard, so very hard when the grief was already beginning to swamp them.

As they held their child to them, a wail rose from the next room.  Jeff took Luna as Aurora ran to the door.  Sophia’s wail fell off, the shrill whine of the EKG machine droning on.  “Daddy!” Aurora sobbed out, falling to her knees, holding her head in her hands.

Luna’s wail joined hers even as the child buried her head in the crook of her father’s neck.  As Jeff reached down, wanting to comfort his wife, something happened.  Aurora threw her head back, a golden glow of light surrounding her.  Her red eyes glowed as well.  Jeff could only stand there, slack-jawed as a wind sprang up around his wife.  Slowly, she rose into the air, that glow intensifying.

Even as she began to glow, Draco did as well.  Sophia raised her head in shock even as the EKG machine seemed to spark and then go utterly blank.

Jeff could only stare in shock and amazement even as the glow vanished from his wife and then she dropped to the ground, still.  Voices shouted as doctors and nurses came running in.  Luna cocked her head uncertainly.  “P-pop-pop.  Mama,” she murmured, her cheek against her father’s.  But she was no longer crying.


Jeff ran his hand through his wife’s hair, his eyes closed.  He, Dr. Blakely and several nurses had been checking on her the last several hours.  She was just sleeping, exhausted from whatever had happened.  Still, he couldn’t help but want to be near her right now, just to reassure himself that there were no ill effects from… whatever that was that she had done.

But the doors from the other room opened and Dr. Blakely stepped out.  He turned and then saw Jeff and Aurora, a small smile forming on his face.

“He’s awake.  You can go in and see him now.”

Jeff stood up, being careful to lay Aurora’s head down gently, and then shook the doctor’s hand.  “Thank you, for everything.”

Dr. Blakely grinned.  “This has been… enlightening.  This is certainly a rotation I won’t soon forget.”  Jeff gave him a half smile and then he walked through the door, into the room.  The sight he saw had him stop for a moment.

“This-this is a sight for sore eyes,” Jeff murmured, his voice cracking just a bit.

Draco, looking a little paler than normal, grinned nonetheless.  “What?  This?”  He shifted and grimaced.  “Guess I scared you guys, didn’t I?  I know Sophia couldn’t look at me without crying.”  He looked guilty at that.  “Why I told her to go and take Luna and get some sleep.”

Jeff stepped closer, just nodding, not sure if he could speak quite yet.  He did try, clearing his throat.  “Yeah, yeah you scared us a bit.  Look-“

But his eyes widened in shock and he managed to shout, “What in the Netherworld do you think you’re doing!?”  Draco had thrown his legs over the side of the bed and, arms shaking, had then stood up!

“What does it look like?” Draco asked sharply.  “Can’t a guy get out of bed?  Need to stretch-“  He let out a grunt as his legs buckled.  Jeff was there in an instant, throwing one arm around his father-in-law’s waist and slinging Draco’s arm across his own shoulders.

“Of all the hard-headed, stubborn, headstrong stunts!” Jeff grumbled as he helped Draco lay back down.

“Easy, lad!” Draco protested.  “You’re acting like I’m on my deathbed here.  Just had a bit of problems with my balance, that’s all.”

“No, that isn’t all!” Jeff exploded.  He had to take a shaky breath.  “Do you remember what happened?  At all?”

Draco frowned as tried to think back.  He lost what little color he had had as his memories solidified.  Then he looked at his son-in-law.  “H-how am I still alive, Jeff?”

“Rora,” Jeff said simply.

“What happened?” Draco asked quietly, looking down.

“I-I don’t even know.  All I know is, you should be dead, Draco.  I’m not exaggerating.  You were too weak to go through the surgery that would save your life.  Y-you flatlined and then-“  He was about to explain more when Dr. Blakely  came back in.

“What’s this now?  The patient anxious to be out of here?”

“I…”  Draco trailed off, looking out the window.

The doctor and Jeff slowly explained the rest of what happened and then Dr. Blakely told them both, “You’re still wounded.  After… we’ll call it the miracle for now, since that’s what it amounted to, but after that, we were able to go in and repair what needed to be repaired.  You’ll still be weak and your body will need time to heal.  In a few more days, I think you’ll actually be well enough to travel back home.  I think you’ll recover better in more familiar surroundings and I’m sure your family will appreciate being home as well.”

He gave Draco a gentle pat on the shoulder and then left.  “Thank you again, Dr. Blakely,” Jeff murmured, shaking his hand.


Jeff and Aurora both trudged up the stairs of the hotel, neither really noticing the lovely décor.

As they reached the landing, Aurora let out a sob and buried her head in her hands.  Jeff had been expecting it for a while and without a word, just pulled her to him and held her closely.  “That’s it now, just let it out,” he murmured, rubbing his hand over her back in gentle circles.

After a good cry, she stepped back.  “I-I thought we-we’d lost him, Jeff.  I-I don’t even know… what happened.”

“I know, baby.  I know.  C’mon, we’re all exhausted.  Your dad is gonna be fine.  Let’s go get some sleep, ok?”  They’d deal with the other thing later.  Right now, he knew they needed sleep.  Maybe a good night’s rest would make things clearer in the morning.  He took her hand and led her into their room where Sophia had already taken Luna.  Somehow, his mother-in-law had already dropped off to sleep.  Then again, she was as exhausted as they all were and as emotionally wrung out as they were, maybe more so.  Her granddaughter had brought her a little bit of comfort after the horrible grief and then the confusion.

Jeff and Aurora stood there together, watching their daughter as she looked back at them.  “/Love you, Mama.  Love you, Papa,/” she murmured sleepily, too tired to actually speak.

“We love you too, sweetheart,” Aurora whispered as she leaned back against Jeff.

She and Jeff changed and then both slid into bed.  So exhausted were they that they were asleep almost before their heads hit the pillow.  Knowing that the nightmare was over, the family slept peacefully.


 

Chapter 22: Shadows

A/N:  Ok, so I want to give a huge shoutout to Trip for all her help.  There are a few images that I’ve manipulated.  It is due to her help and a tutorial using GIMP that I was able to it.  So, Trip, thank you so very much!  You are awesome!

Ok, as I’m sure you guys have noticed, I tend to use screenshots that I’ve gotten from the game itself mainly because I find the Sims interesting enough on their own.  However, I have found the joy of Pose Player and so this chapter and later ones have utilized it quite a bit.  Now, I am an amateur at it, so please bear with me.  If you guys have any comments or tips, please feel free to give them to me.  I love to learn and any tricks or tips are greatly appreciated.  Also, RaiaDraconis was super helpful in helping me find a good majority of the poses I’ve used so far, so there’s another big shout out!

Anyway, here we go!  Enjoy this chapter guys!

I don’t even know where to begin!  I’m feeling so overwhelmed right now, I can barely focus.  Maybe writing it out will help settle me down.  First off, it’s been three days since Dad left.  He didn’t- couldn’t- tell us much, other than he hoped that things would finally be done.  None of us were happy about it, not at all.  But Mom, the unhappiest of us all, said that it was something he had to do.  She was the one who had given us the news; Dad had already left right from the station, apparently.  She had told us of the phone call that had pulled him out of the house and then the subsequent phone call she’d gotten from him a few hours later.

I haven’t been able to shake this horrible feeling that won’t leave me.  I do my best.  Poor Luna can’t figure out where her grandfather has gone.  She’ll sit on the floor and just look around, as if she were waiting for him.

Every time I go to get her from the crib, she looks at me and asks hopefully, “/Pop-pop?/”

It breaks my heart when I have to tell her that, no, he wasn’t home yet.  Though he’s been gone this long before, the fact that we haven’t heard anything yet is very upsetting and it makes this terrible foreboding I have even worse.  Mom won’t admit it, but she has a similar feeling.  She’s been trying to clear her mind using meditation, but I don’t think that’s helping her much.

If that wasn’t bad enough in and of itself, earlier today was just a nightmare.  After Jeff and I got married, Mom and Dad insisted I get my furniture out of storage, start making my mark on the house.  I finally did and with it, we had a fireplace installed in the living room, something I’d always wanted.  Boy am I regretting that now.

Jeff had just lit a fire in it.

I was in the nursery with Luna, trying to get her settled down for her afternoon nap.  Without her grandfather, it was harder to get her to go to sleep.  Jeff had gone back to our room to get dressed.  Suddenly, I heard my mother yelling.  I came running out of the nursery to see what the matter was and this was what I saw:

Jeff and I both ran out to do what we could to help Mom battle the blaze at first.

We had mostly gotten it all out when this happened…

Luckily, he made it into the shower.  He only got a little singed, though his pants were a dead-loss and his nice jacket was damaged.  But that was a small price to pay.  After I and my mother looked him over and made sure he was ok, he went immediately into Luna’s nursery and held her close.

She must have heard the yelling because it had taken quite a while for him to get her settled down again.  As he turned away from her crib, I had come in and I wrapped my arms around him, burying my head against him.

I had been so frightened.  I couldn’t stop the tears that slowly slid down my cheeks.  He held me for a long moment, then put me at arms’ length.

“We’re ok, love.  I’m fine.  A little singed, but I’m ok.”

“I-I know.  Just scared me.”

He pulled me close again.  “It’ll be ok.  C’mon, let’s try and go get some sleep, alright?”  I nodded.  I was exhausted; between the worry about Dad, the terrible feeling of impending doom that wouldn’t leave, and now the fire, I was a wreck.  “Yeah, a nap would be great right about now.”

So Jeff and I headed to our room and slid into bed.  I curled up next to my husband and closed my eyes.  But as I slid into sleep, my dreams were not easy.


Draco waited in the elevator, nonchalantly leaning against the  wall as the too-cheerful music played.  Why did elevator music sound like that?  Whose bright idea was that anyway?  Chuckling to himself, he crossed his legs, watching the floor indicator.  If everything had gone to plan, he’d get into the office, find what they needed, then get out.  And since he hadn’t gotten the abort signal, everything should have gone to plan.

As the little bell dinged to indicate they had made it to the top floor, Draco nodded.  He looked sharp in his tuxedo.  It paid to appear as someone important when needing to get into a building such as this.  He’d been able to steamroll across the receptionist that had tried to stop him on the way up.  As the doors slid open, he stepped out into an elegantly furnished office that spanned the entire half of this floor of the building.  Being the boss must have paid quite well.  He walked in and then stopped abruptly when he saw someone sitting behind the giant mahogany desk.

The images of the dream were distorted, hazy, not very clear.  But even in sleep, Aurora knew them to be real.  She whimpered, wanting to scream for her father to get out of there, to run away.  She could only watch it unfold, however, as if she were the only witness to what would come.

The figure behind the desk smiled at him, showing pointed canine fangs.  “Welcome, Mr. Wyvern.  Do you mind if I call you, Draco?”  The smile fell away in a split second.  “You’ve become a very big problem in the last few years, you know.”

His expression had gone utterly blank, but now he grinned, making it as insolent as he could while his mind raced.  “I’ll take that as a compliment, Slayer.  Or should I call you Elvira?  Since you want to get cozy.”  His voice was calm, almost as insolent as his smile.  His blood was ice and his head was cool as he considered his options.  He knew Elvira to be fairly old by vampire standards and knew she was dangerous.  But he hadn’t gotten to where he was by being stupid, either and he knew what he was doing.

Elvira Slayer continued to glare at him for a long moment, but again, that same vicious smile curled the corners of her mouth upward.  “I applaud your courage, I truly do.  But since I’ve received enough information on you to know that you are far too honorable to work for me, I’m afraid that leaves me with only one option.”  She stood up and looked to her left, to a small alcove that hid something… or someone.  “My dear, if you would come and dispose of our guest, please?”

Draco braced as a figure stepped out into view.  Anger suddenly boiled up within him.  “You!” he snarled, stepping forward.  “Traitor!”

Elvira laughed and William just grinned.  “Oh, poor boy.  William has been mine from the beginning.  It’s very useful to have someone who knows and understands the inner workings of the police force, wouldn’t you say?”

”I won’t let you get away with this!” Draco snarled, that anger sizzling through his blood.  He braced himself for a fight.

Elvira rolled her eyes.  “William?  If you would dear?”  Draco was strong, and smart, and he’d trained for a long time.  But he still hadn’t quite recovered from his last assignment and he was getting older.  Despite his powers, he hadn’t seen this betrayal, probably due to a vampire’s superior mental shields.  He just wasn’t prepared as William seemed to come flying at him, his knee connecting with Draco’s solar plexus.

As if played out, Aurora tossed and turned, tears beginning to slowly slide down her cheeks.
Draco’s breath exploded out even as he was tossed against the reinforced glass of the windows behind him.  When he hit, he just slid down onto the floor, stunned.  It was long enough for William to bring up the gun he held in his hand.  Elvira threw back her head, laughing.  “Kill him, William.”

”S-sophia,” Draco whispered, fighting to get his breath back.  But staring down the barrel of the gun, he knew his luck had run out.

As the sound of a gunshot exploded and then echoed through her brain, Aurora awoke, screaming.  “D-daddy,” she whispered, a burning sensation spreading out from her chest.

Her eyes rolled into her head even as Jeff jerked awake.  As Aurora slid into darkness, she heard her daughter’s piercing cry of anguish.


 

Chapter 21: The Calm Before the Storm

I’ve spent the last day reading over the book my father gave to me.  I always knew there was a family history: I remember watching my grandmother writing in it.  Then she turned it over to him and now it’s my turn.  I think it will be different than keeping my own journal, which was mostly a way to help cope with what I feel, every day.  I will forever feel things that are not mine.  For the most part, I have developed a shield of sorts, though things get through.  Jeff is my anchor when things become too much.

Speaking of Jeff (before I treat this too much like my own journal)… our daughter is quite the daddy’s girl.  As soon as Jeff comes home from the hospital, she crawls to him and begs to be picked up.  She’s so smug once he scoops her up.  He dotes on her so.

She insists that he be the one to put her to bed, as well.  And when he leaves, she gives him such a pathetic face.

I can see and feel the calculation once he leaves the room.

When her and I began to work on skills such as talking and walking, even potty training, this is the look I get:

I can’t help but be entertained by this.  I know for a fact it’s not because of malicious intent.  She just loves her father.  Actually, she’s not just a daddy’s girl.  Her grandfather is just as taken with her, and she with him.

Watching her with them makes my heart melt.  Jeff and Dad are both so good with her.  The little imp knows just how to get to them too.  With me, it is not so easy.  Even her grandmother is held under her sway.

But I suppose that is as it should be.  After all, I was much the same.  So it could be said that she takes after her mother the most.  And she does love me, that I know.  Just as I always loved my mother, but I felt closer to my father, to my grandfather.  Maybe that is just the way it goes.  When she is in a good mood, happy, she wants her grandfather or father.  But when she is feeling down or a little colicky as she was the other night, her mother’s arms are the only thing that will satisfy her.


I got quite the shock today, though in hind sight, I should have been prepared for it.  Luna’s certainly a Wyvern, alright.  I had gone to get her out of her crib to feed her.  I leaned down to her and I heard, “/Mama!  Mama, me hungi!/”  At first, I thought she was talking.  She’d been doing better with her lessons, but there had been no sound, none at all.

I stopped and just looked at her for a long moment.  “Luna?”

She looked back up at me, grinning.  “/Mama!  Baba?/”

I could only laugh a little.  “You’ll get a bottle.”  I lifted her out, mulling this over.  After I set her on the floor, giving her her bottle, I went to find my dad.

“Dad?  I need to talk to you about Luna.”

His brow furrowed when I told him.  “Hm, well, it makes sense, doesn’t it?”  He grinned a little.  “She’s definitely a Wyvern.”  He got that look in his eyes that meant he was doing some serious thinking.  “I wonder if it’s straight telepathy or more along the lines of your own abilities.”

The prospect that my daughter would have to live with what I did made me gasp.  My dad put a hand on my shoulder.  “Easy, Rora.  We don’t know that it is yet.  If it’s straight telepathy, we’ll have an easier time controlling it since it would be more in line with my own powers.  Why don’t you let me see what I can see with her, hm?  What about you?  What do you sense from her?  I know it’s harder for you to get a read on one of us, but I know you can.”

I thought about it.  “I don’t think she can do what I can because I don’t feel from her.  I can hear her thoughts.  Or at least, she can project them when she wants to.”

Dad laughed.  “Hm, yes, sounds like her.  Leave it to me.  I’ll see what I can find out from her.”

I nodded.  His clairvoyance and ability to see the truth of things would come in handy here.  “Ok.  Thanks Dad.”

“No need to thank me, Rora.”  He patted my shoulder.  “Why don’t you go spend some time with Jeff?  I’ll have a chat with my granddaughter, alright?”

I could only grin.  “Ok, dad.”  I leaned up to kiss his cheek, then went to go find my husband.


Draco carried Luna outside; the weather was gorgeous and he knew the little girl loved the outdoors.  “C’mon, lil Eclipse.”  He set her down and then leaned down.

“Pop-pop!” she babbled.

Draco smiled.  “Yup, that’s right.  It’s pop-pop.”  He went silent, but in his mind, he thought, “/Does our lil Eclipse want a special treat?/”

“/Treat, pop-pop, treat!/” Her voice in his head was at a high squeal even as she clapped her hands.

Wincing, he laughed.  “That answers that.”  Using his thoughts again, he asked, “/Luna, you can hear pop-pop can’t you?  You can hear what he’s thinking?/”

Smiling up at him, she nodded her little head.  “/Hear pop-pop,/” she murmured coyly, looking up at him with her red little eyes.

“That’s what I thought.”  He lifted her into the air, causing her to squeal with delight once more.


Aside from Luna’s normal toddler skills, we are now working on her abilities.  Like me, she automatically picks things up, though hers are thoughts, not feelings.

“Luna, sweetie, when you’re with other people, remember, you have to try to block them out, ok?”

“/Ok, mama.  Block dem./”

“Mhm.  And remember, you can talk like this to us, but when you talk with others, need to do it out loud.  What does daddy do?”

“He a docer!  He make people feel better!”


Luna and her daddy like to go out for rides in the stroller most evenings.

Mom and Dad like taking over after that, giving Jeff and I time to spend together.  With this gorgeous weather, he and I really like spending time in the hot tub.  It’s very relaxing, with the stars twinkling overhead, crickets serenading us as water swirls around us.

“Mm, this is nice,” Jeff murmured.

“Yes, yes it is.”  The sun was beginning to set as we both just lounged against the side of tub.

I could feel Jeff eyeing me sideways even as I felt him sidle closer, sliding his arm around my shoulders and pulling me close.

“So, uh,” he began, leaning in close, “I talked with Dr. Bianchi today.”  I frowned; his tone was nervous with an undercurrent of what sounded like disappointment.

“And?  I thought the lists for the accepted residents weren’t supposed to come out until next week, right?”

“Yeah, that’s true.  But, I uh… well, he called me into his office early.”

I turned to him.  “Oh Jeff, I’m sorry.  There’s always next time.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know…”  He shrugged one shoulder.  “Then again, I won’t need it for next time.  Not since I’ll be a resident starting tomorrow!”

I started at him for a moment, a blank look on my face.  Then my eyes widened in glee.

“Wait!?  Really!?”  I slapped his shoulder even as he laughed like a loon.  “You’re such a brat!”

It took him a moment to get himself under control.  He had a grin from ear to ear.  “Yes, I am.  But I couldn’t resist.  Sorry love.”  He coaxed me back over to him.  “C’mon now, where’s my celebratory kiss?”

I was still glaring at him, though I just couldn’t keep it up.  I knew how much his career meant to him.  And he’d been working so hard for the limited number of residencies that were available.  So I had to give him his kiss.  And then we really celebrated.


Draco frowned at his buzzing phone, then read the caller ID.  His frown deepened.  He looked at his wife.  “I need to head to the station, ok?  Looks like they need my assistance with something.”  He smiled down at his sleeping granddaughter, who he had just laid in her crib.

“Is everything ok?”  Sophia’s voice was sharp.  Though she had forgiven Draco for not being honest with her, the entire episode had made her bitter toward those who ran the department.

“I honestly don’t know, babe.  I wish I did.”  He smiled at her.  “Hopefully, just need my help with something.  If it’s more, I’ll call and let ya know, alright?  I promise.”

Sophia worried her bottom lip, then she firmed it up and nodded.  “Alright.  I’m holding you to it.”  She stepped to him and gave him a hard hug.

Though Draco knew she was worried (and he really couldn’t blame her), he had to go.  He took his oath very seriously.  So he left the house, wondering what was so urgent.


He walked into the precinct, barely acknowledging those still at their desks.  He headed through the long, twisty halls to what looked like a storage closet.  But looks are deceiving.  After hitting a hidden switch, he found himself in a sparse office.  There was someone standing in front of the single desk, like they had been expecting him.  “What gives, Faye?” he demanded, his voice unusually harsh as he strode right up to her.  “Why are you calling me out in the middle of the night?  I told you that the last assignment was it!  You- and the brass- agreed!”

“Draco, please have a seat, ok?” Faye murmured, indicating the chair, her face unreadable.

But Draco knew her well enough, and could sense that there was definitely something up.  Sighing, he dropped into the visitor chair as she stepped behind her desk, though she didn’t take the chair.

She turned away, looking at a spot on the wall.  “Draco, I know what you went through after the last assignment.  I was there… Look, we’re partners and I’d have told the brass to take this latest assignment and stuff it… if I didn’t know that you’d at least want to know about it.  If you decide that you don’t want it, I’ll go to them and tell them just that.  But, I know how much you hate to leave things unfinished.”

Now she did turn to face him.

Draco’s gaze sharpened.  “You found them.  You know where it was all coming from now, don’t you?”

Faye sighed.  She should have known he’d know before she could say it.  “Yes, we do.”

“Where?  Who?”

“We were finally able to track it to Bridgeport.  And it goes to the top, the cream of the crop there, Draco.”

“Slayer.  It’s Slayer!  We always suspected, but could never prove anything!”  He looked at her face.  “We still can’t prove it, can we?  Not enough to make an arrest.”

Faye shook her head.  “No.  That’s… what this assignment is for.  To get proof.  You’re the best we have, Draco.  You can get in there and get out better than anyone.”

“And you need me for another reason: I’m one of the few that might have a chance again a vampire,” he told her point blank.

“There’s that too, though frankly that’s not as important.  I want you to meet your partner for this.  He’s a LT in the Bridgeport police.”

As if on cue, the door opened and a figure walked in.

“Draco Wyvern, this is William Fangmann,” Faye introduced the two of them.  “He’ll be your contact while in Bridgeport.”

Draco took his hand and nodded in greeting, then looked at Faye.  “Alright.  I’m in.”


A/N:  I’m setting things up for the next couple of chapters.  I used Pose Player heavily and it’s my first time experimenting.  I’m also trying to do something else that Trip is helping me with, but not sure how long it could take, just as a warning.